British cops are on the lookout for pistols, machine guns, and grenades smuggled out of the conflict zone, the National Criminal Agency's chief has said
Western weapons could be trafficked out of Ukraine and into the hands of criminals and terrorists, UK National Crime Agency (NCA) Director General Graeme Biggar told the Sunday Times. Earlier, Moscow estimated that up to $1 billion worth of arms are funneled out of Ukraine every month.
"As with any conflict, when weapons pour in there is a risk of blowback," Biggar said on Sunday. "At the end of the conflict, there are surplus weapons that get into the hands of criminals or terrorists."
Biggar, who took over at the helm of the NCA in August, said that police in the UK and Europe are watching out for pistols, machine guns, and grenades turning up on the streets.
Despite receiving assurances from Ukraine's national police chief that Western arms are being accounted for, he said that Europol and other European law enforcement agencies are "all on the lookout for this."
Biggar said that the NCA has not yet seen any evidence of criminals obtaining weapons from Ukraine. However, Interpol and Europol have both warned that arms will inevitably leave the country and end up on the black market.
Ukraine's Western backers have admitted that they can't track most of their arms shipments once they enter the country, and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated last month that up to $1 billion worth of these weapons are funneled from Ukraine to criminals and terror groups in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia every month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned that by sending tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine, the West is making itself a de-facto participant in the conflict. Last month, Putin claimed that "cross-border criminal groups" have obtained "powerful weapons, including portable air defense systems and precision weapons" from Ukraine.